Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My 1st Dress Without a Commercial Pattern

I took apart a homemade, brown, floral, vintage dress which I loved...loved beyond repair.  I can't even remember where I got it.  A clothes swap probably.  But I just loved it.  It was simple, functional, flattering with just a hint of out-dated style...which I love.  Using the pieces of the original dress I drafted up a little pattern--adding a little more wiggle room in the areas where I'd blown out the original dress repeatedly.  Clearly I needed more room.  And fabric that wasn't paper thin after decades of wear.
I'd never attempted anything like this before, really.  I mean, there was that one time I tried to make my own hat pattern back in 2011, but that was much smaller scale and didn't really work out like I might have hoped.  I was too new at sewing at that point.  It was too ambitious. But, with this dress I felt ready.  I was up for the challenge.
Turns out, it wasn't even that challenging.  I did add just a bit too much wiggle room and so had to take in the side seems a bit once it was finished.  Also, the darts are not perfectly even.  But, all in all, it was a cinch.  I cut it out and sewed it up in just a couple days--record time for me.  Without any written instructions to follow even!  I was pretty darn pleased with how it all came together.
I really like the cut of this dress, too.  Its interesting.  Sewing it up only made me appreciate that more.  For example, it doesn't have separate pieces for the sleeves.  Its more like a yoke--all one piece--which wraps around at the upper arms making sleeves with a little seam at the armpit.  Its a clever and time-saving design since the sleeves don't have to be set separately.  However, I think it might also explain why I kept tearing the dress--it doesn't have quite as much give.  The dress also has a really nice-looking seam across the upper chest.  It has two deep in-seam pockets.  Every dress should have pockets.  Okay, maybe not every dress, but every dress I'll ever make.  I enlarged the pockets from the original as I'd always thought they could be a little deeper.  It is a great length and fullness for cycling and other physical activities I get up to--like planting fruit trees.
I used vintage navy floral fabric which I bought years ago at the Montana Rescue Mission bargain center.  Now its my new vintage dress--vintage pattern, vintage fabric, brand new creation.  I'm pleased.  I will have to make another.  I'm wearing it right now...as soon as its clean I want to wear it.  Its quickly become a wardrobe staple.  I wore it as my Easter dress, too.

14 comments:

  1. Love the boxers and love your dress!

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    1. Thanks, San! Its so nice when things work out just like I hope they will!

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  2. I am SO IMPRESSED! It looks like fabulous fabric and I love the "new" vintage dress. Such a clever design, too. I know there's a name for that kind of sleeve - dolman, I think. I've never sewed them before, but I bet they're easy. Well done, Beth!!

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    1. It sure was an easy way to make sleeves! And thanks, Margo. Coming from a talented seamstress like yourself I am flattered by your praise.

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  3. That's very clever of you, how impressive!

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    1. Thanks so much! I must give my sister, Lisa, credit for giving me the idea that I could take apart a dress and make a pattern from it. I think its pretty brilliant, especially when the original dress is well past its prime wearability.

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  4. You did a wonderful job! Looks GREAT!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Becky! I was so happy with how it turned out. The fabric really suited the style and the style suits me, I think!

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  5. Your dress is lovely!! Is it weird of me to say I always adore when you post photos including your home? It's so adorable & homey. Looks very comfortable.

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    1. Thanks, TLC! And no, I enjoy peeks into the homes of my blog friends, too. Tania at the Ivy Nest in particular has a home that calls to me.

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  6. I adore your dress! Very flattering, and really such a beautiful fabric. I'd be wearing it all the time too :)
    -Jaime

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  7. Your dress looks fantastic on you. It can be so liberating when you make your first dress without having to buy a commercial pattern. If you want to go further with designing and making your own clothes, look for a used book called Son of Hassle-Free Sewing by Joan Wiener and Sharon Rosenberg and was 1st published in 1972.

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  8. Beth! I just adore you. Always have... This blog is such a true depiction of you, and you are FABULOUS.

    xo

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  9. You're fabulous! Clearly :) Jess

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!